The decision to separate from National and return to our roots as a stand-alone, independent charity was a momentous event in our 30-year history. It was also a big newsmaker.
As the first Chapter (of now six) to announce disaffiliation from the Chicago-based National organization, we were the subject of an exclusive Wall Street Journal story that explained in detail the important programmatic and financial reasons for the split. The article read, in part, “Leaders of the New York City Chapter say the consolidation plan would have dissolved the local board, taken the organization’s assets and jeopardized programming that supports caregivers and individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s.” Stephen Casper, Co-Chair of our Board of Directors, told the Journal that “operating as a separate organization was in the best interest of local clients who desperately need our help.”
Significant stories about our becoming independent and our new brand also appeared in other respected publications, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Huffington Post, New York Nonprofit Review, The NonProfit Times, Philanthropy News Digest, Alzheimer’s News Today, on Alzheimer's Reading Room and elsewhere.
On March 6, the entire nation, including all of us here at CaringKind, mourned the passing of Nancy Reagan. As Jed Levine wrote in The New York Times, “Nancy Reagan played many roles throughout her long and storied life…perhaps none more inspiring than her role as Alzheimer’s caregiver for her beloved Ronnie. Her openness and bravery in the face of this devastating disease was a model for many others, opening doors to discussion and reducing the stigma of Alzheimer’s.”
Lou-Ellen Barkan expressed similar sentiments in a moving TV interview with PIX 11, in which she also noted the sea change in public opinion about Alzheimer’s after President Reagan disclosed that he had the disease.
Lou-Ellen continues to blog for The Huffington Post. In a recent post, “Absent Effective Treatments, Good Care is the Best Medicine for Alzheimer’s,” she stressed the importance of the work we do at CaringKind, saying, “The care we provide improves the daily lives of those navigating the challenges of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis and lets New Yorkers know they don’t have to do it alone.”
News of a brand-new partnership between CaringKind and healtheo360 — a web portal for patients and caregivers seeking support and information about chronic health conditions — was reported on more than 200 news websites around the country. This initiative will provide a virtual support group for the more than 250,000 New York City residents affected by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related dementia and their families.
We were also proud to be part of a recent public radio series called “Strike a Chord: Family Caregivers.” Matt Kudish, Senior Vice President of Caregiver Services, and caregivers Sharon Corso and Keith Amparado participated in a 30-minute panel moderated by George Bodarky, WFUV news director. The segment highlighted the realities of what it means to be an Alzheimer’s caregiver and ways our dedicated staff can help ease the burden.
Our annual Walks, which took place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and — for the first time ever — Staten Island, were huge successes. Television coverage was extensive and featured interviews with Lou-Ellen, actor and longtime CaringKind supporter David Hyde Pierce, and NYPD Officer Richard Fazio, who was honored for his work with our Wanderer’s Safety Program. The Staten Island Advance profiled 23-year-old Alexandra Gardiner, our volunteer chairperson for Staten Island’s first walk. Alexandra supports CaringKind in honor of her grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s and died three years ago. She said that, although she can no longer help her grandfather, she is happy that she is able to help others.
Like Alexandra, if you have a story about a special personal experience with us that you’d like to share with the media, please email Danielle Robitaille, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d be happy to talk with you about it.
We have an exciting year ahead of us! Look for us in the news!